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The Art of Taking It Easy: How to Cope with Bears, Traffic, and the Rest of Life's Stressors

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From a psychologist and stand-up comedian comes a practical, yet laugh-out-loud guide to embracing humor to reduce stress and live a happier, fuller life. Dr. Brian King got a degree in psychology before becoming a world-touring comic and the host of humor therapy seminars attended by more than ten thousand people each year. In this brilliant guide he presents hands-on tech From a psychologist and stand-up comedian comes a practical, yet laugh-out-loud guide to embracing humor to reduce stress and live a happier, fuller life. Dr. Brian King got a degree in psychology before becoming a world-touring comic and the host of humor therapy seminars attended by more than ten thousand people each year. In this brilliant guide he presents hands-on techniques for managing stress by rewiring our brains to approach potentially difficult situations through a lens of positivity. To do so, Dr. King explores what stress is, where it comes from, and what it does to our bodies and brains. He delves deep into how to address everyday stress—as well as anxiety, insecurities, repression, and negativity—and gives insight into resulting ailments such as anxiety disorders, depression, hypertension, obesity, substance abuse disorders, and more. Dr. King’s techniques are chemical and cost free, and embrace humor, resilience, relaxation, optimism, gratitude, and acceptance. Instead of a dry medical approach to dealing with stress, this unique volume is filled with life-changing tips and instructions presented with humor and a wealth of memorable, smile-inducing anecdotes.


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From a psychologist and stand-up comedian comes a practical, yet laugh-out-loud guide to embracing humor to reduce stress and live a happier, fuller life. Dr. Brian King got a degree in psychology before becoming a world-touring comic and the host of humor therapy seminars attended by more than ten thousand people each year. In this brilliant guide he presents hands-on tech From a psychologist and stand-up comedian comes a practical, yet laugh-out-loud guide to embracing humor to reduce stress and live a happier, fuller life. Dr. Brian King got a degree in psychology before becoming a world-touring comic and the host of humor therapy seminars attended by more than ten thousand people each year. In this brilliant guide he presents hands-on techniques for managing stress by rewiring our brains to approach potentially difficult situations through a lens of positivity. To do so, Dr. King explores what stress is, where it comes from, and what it does to our bodies and brains. He delves deep into how to address everyday stress—as well as anxiety, insecurities, repression, and negativity—and gives insight into resulting ailments such as anxiety disorders, depression, hypertension, obesity, substance abuse disorders, and more. Dr. King’s techniques are chemical and cost free, and embrace humor, resilience, relaxation, optimism, gratitude, and acceptance. Instead of a dry medical approach to dealing with stress, this unique volume is filled with life-changing tips and instructions presented with humor and a wealth of memorable, smile-inducing anecdotes.

30 review for The Art of Taking It Easy: How to Cope with Bears, Traffic, and the Rest of Life's Stressors

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    I picked this up because it was being promoted in Libby. I stopped reading after the first two chapters (around 41% through the book, according to Libby) despite giving it an honest try. On one level, this book just didn't click with me personally. I think I would've enjoyed the conversational style more if this were a podcast or a video series. However, my bigger problem with the book is that the author doesn't seem to understand how to reach the target audience. The actual information about hum I picked this up because it was being promoted in Libby. I stopped reading after the first two chapters (around 41% through the book, according to Libby) despite giving it an honest try. On one level, this book just didn't click with me personally. I think I would've enjoyed the conversational style more if this were a podcast or a video series. However, my bigger problem with the book is that the author doesn't seem to understand how to reach the target audience. The actual information about human physiology is interspersed with lengthy personal anecdotes. That's fine for entertainment value, but over and over, the author says in this sort of bemused way that he's never gotten particularly stressed out, or he didn't know why a person in his life got so stressed out. It comes across as very dismissive. He offers caveats early on about how the book is intended for people who just get stressed out about small things for no reason, not people with diagnosable depression, anxiety, and PTSD. The thing is that due to woefully inadequate mental healthcare coverage, a lot of people with those illnesses don't know that they have them. They don't understand why they're suffering so much and they feel deeply ashamed about overreacting to everyday life things. Reading this sort of advice only reinforces the shame without giving them tools to break free from the cycle. The number of pages devoted to laughing at other people's road rage is exhausting. For a more practical and compassionate book on managing one's own stress responses and not being so high-strung all the time, I'd recommend Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle or Exercise for Mood and Anxiety: Proven Strategies for Overcoming Depression and Enhancing Well-Being.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Brian King

    This book is so good, it's as if I wrote it myself! This book is so good, it's as if I wrote it myself!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bam cooks the books ;-)

    **Big Library Read for April, 2021.** Brian King is both a doctor of psychology and a stand-up comedian. Weird combination, right? But his comedic ability allows him to speak and write with humor about some of life's problems. This is a fun and informative read with an emphasis on being optimistic, resilient and a problem solver. As they used to say in my youth, 'Go with the flow.' **Big Library Read for April, 2021.** Brian King is both a doctor of psychology and a stand-up comedian. Weird combination, right? But his comedic ability allows him to speak and write with humor about some of life's problems. This is a fun and informative read with an emphasis on being optimistic, resilient and a problem solver. As they used to say in my youth, 'Go with the flow.'

  4. 5 out of 5

    Elyse

    This was April 2021's Big Library Read on Overdrive. I snagged it on a whim and it was boring. But at least it didn't stress me out! Ha. Yeah, King was trying too hard to be funny. He pegs himself a comedian but I didn't find him all that humorous. I also didn't find much in this book helpful in dealing with stress or anxiety or worry. Just because there's no "reason" doesn't mean you're going to stop. Thinking logically about why you're stressed/anxious/worried or thinking about what I can or c This was April 2021's Big Library Read on Overdrive. I snagged it on a whim and it was boring. But at least it didn't stress me out! Ha. Yeah, King was trying too hard to be funny. He pegs himself a comedian but I didn't find him all that humorous. I also didn't find much in this book helpful in dealing with stress or anxiety or worry. Just because there's no "reason" doesn't mean you're going to stop. Thinking logically about why you're stressed/anxious/worried or thinking about what I can or can't do about it will not stop me from worrying that my husband will crash when he's flying solo in a plane (He's a private pilot). It's in our nature to worry about the people and things we love. But I am not a stressed, anxious, or worried person all the time so maybe other people will get more out of this than I did. I just couldn't connect with King. Might've been better on audio, which is how I like my nonfiction and especially self-help anyway but that was not available.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Leah Davis

    Love this book, only got it a few days ago and it makes me laugh and has real advice!!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Book

    The author is an unusual blend of comedian and neurologist/psychologist, which makes this both based on a real understanding of how the brain works and how people think but also guided along by humor that makes it refreshing and easy to read. I was really impressed by the stress management tips, and how he simplifies handling stress and explains why that's critical for our health. We all need to learn to take it a bit easier! I now embrace his tips on a daily basis and I can say candidly that th The author is an unusual blend of comedian and neurologist/psychologist, which makes this both based on a real understanding of how the brain works and how people think but also guided along by humor that makes it refreshing and easy to read. I was really impressed by the stress management tips, and how he simplifies handling stress and explains why that's critical for our health. We all need to learn to take it a bit easier! I now embrace his tips on a daily basis and I can say candidly that they've helped my life, especially in such stressful times. This was a great find. Don't get loss in the world of other books on the subject-I've read them and they're dry-this is the one you want.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nahanni McKay

    As a young 25 year old I can’t relate to the parenting methods of this book but being from the Canadian Rockies I am 100% aware of the stressors bears bring to my life. This book has taught me to take a deep breath and live in the moment

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    I recommend this book for anyone that suffers from negative or worrisome feelings (I think that's everyone, because that's just life). The book has given me tools/concepts that are changing the way I think and make me a better contributor in this complicated world that seems to thrive on those negative feelings. The advice is simple to follow and apply even though it's not really written like a "self help" book. I have already used the concepts to help myself and my kids in situations that we no I recommend this book for anyone that suffers from negative or worrisome feelings (I think that's everyone, because that's just life). The book has given me tools/concepts that are changing the way I think and make me a better contributor in this complicated world that seems to thrive on those negative feelings. The advice is simple to follow and apply even though it's not really written like a "self help" book. I have already used the concepts to help myself and my kids in situations that we normally might call "stressful." I can look at a problem as a challenge instead of a threatening situation, and remind myself I'm a master problem solver (because of my life-battle scars...). Often I find the problem isn't a problem at all. You have to read the book to articulate your OWN meaning . There are other great tidbits too and lots of resources cited so you can branch off in more depth on specific topics if you want. Also, I laughed out loud a few times :) In summary I hope you read this book to help yourself and help others.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amit Verma

    .This book is by comedian. But it is not superficial or sarcastic. It deals with real stuff. It points out hyperexcitable modern apes who spray out cortisol in their body at minimal stimulation. It tries to make them understand that, relax bro. It is just your amygdala whaking you up. There are no bears out to hunt you. In a simple, enjoyable prose author describes how we suffer at our own hands in traffic, in gym, in diet plans snd in many other spheres of our daily life. Resilience is central theme .This book is by comedian. But it is not superficial or sarcastic. It deals with real stuff. It points out hyperexcitable modern apes who spray out cortisol in their body at minimal stimulation. It tries to make them understand that, relax bro. It is just your amygdala whaking you up. There are no bears out to hunt you. In a simple, enjoyable prose author describes how we suffer at our own hands in traffic, in gym, in diet plans snd in many other spheres of our daily life. Resilience is central theme. And his brothers tale in mexico; describing his use of grit to help tourists out of mess, is very very interesting to read. Fight excess stress or be sick. It gives very useful information. I wish author had used less of his family biographies in book and he would still be equally effective. Overall nice book that touches deep , instead of being superficial collection of anecdotes.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    I picked up this book entirely on a whim when it was shown to me as a "Big Library Read". As someone with a diagnosed anxiety disorder, stress and methods to cope with said stress are a large part of my life. I really enjoyed the balance of the book - which I suppose comes from the author being both a doctor and a comedian. King did a great job of presenting the science in a way that was accessible and not at all overwhelming, as well as providing advice in a way that wasn't too preachy or over I picked up this book entirely on a whim when it was shown to me as a "Big Library Read". As someone with a diagnosed anxiety disorder, stress and methods to cope with said stress are a large part of my life. I really enjoyed the balance of the book - which I suppose comes from the author being both a doctor and a comedian. King did a great job of presenting the science in a way that was accessible and not at all overwhelming, as well as providing advice in a way that wasn't too preachy or over the top. While much of the content I already had a working knowledge of, I still walked away with some usable tips and some new information. 3.5 stars rounded to 4.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    This book has some excellent ideas and theories on how to reduce stress. I was able to try a few of them already. At times this read like a text book and there was too much mention of children for my liking. Otherwise, this book is very helpful and will continue to be for the rest of my life.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Brain

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Really enjoyed this book and things are put in a simple perspective. The strongest points I take from it are the way how we deal with our stress (asking questions, redirecting it), our resilience about the situations in our life (expected or otherwise) and, last but not least, the fact that laughing/smiling is very important! :)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Faith Ho

    Practical and funny, easy-to-follow book on stress and how do we deal with it. Really enjoyed the little anecdotes and interviews sprinkled throughout the book, and the call outs for skimmers. This is also the only book that I'll read the references for. Practical and funny, easy-to-follow book on stress and how do we deal with it. Really enjoyed the little anecdotes and interviews sprinkled throughout the book, and the call outs for skimmers. This is also the only book that I'll read the references for.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Peggy McCoy

    A simple but solid discussion of stress. I enjoyed the comedic approach. Surprisingly frequent nuggets of :"good stuff"! A simple but solid discussion of stress. I enjoyed the comedic approach. Surprisingly frequent nuggets of :"good stuff"!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Nothing groundbreaking but a good book, with solid science and stories to back them up. It's absolutely worth the read. Nothing groundbreaking but a good book, with solid science and stories to back them up. It's absolutely worth the read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    Need to remember to take it easy his strategies to put things in perspective. Sometimes something simple is not easy to do.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    A good book for those that are just starting on their “self help” journey. Dr. Brian shares good tips and provides humor making this an easy read. Also supporting any BGSU grad in their journey.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    This book is an enjoyable read with practical and relevant advice for reducing stress. The author uses real world examples backed up by solid scientific data and studies, and still makes it lighthearted and fun. I found the tips helpful for moments when I recognize that I am stressing, worrying, and generally freaking out about things that I may or may not have control over. I have been keeping this book in a place where I see it regularly as a reminder to stop and take a breath, and think about This book is an enjoyable read with practical and relevant advice for reducing stress. The author uses real world examples backed up by solid scientific data and studies, and still makes it lighthearted and fun. I found the tips helpful for moments when I recognize that I am stressing, worrying, and generally freaking out about things that I may or may not have control over. I have been keeping this book in a place where I see it regularly as a reminder to stop and take a breath, and think about bears.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I read this for the Big Library Read of April 2021. I think that's important to note since I'm a hard sell on self-help books, so take my review with the appropriate amount of salt. A little bit on my background with stress, resilience, and happiness. I have a high stress job which involves dealing with angry people, potential loss of life, and urgent deadlines. I interact with hundreds of people every day. I have a high debt-to-income ratio, I'm the primary earner for my household, and I general I read this for the Big Library Read of April 2021. I think that's important to note since I'm a hard sell on self-help books, so take my review with the appropriate amount of salt. A little bit on my background with stress, resilience, and happiness. I have a high stress job which involves dealing with angry people, potential loss of life, and urgent deadlines. I interact with hundreds of people every day. I have a high debt-to-income ratio, I'm the primary earner for my household, and I generally consider myself a high strung Type A person. For those who are into astrology, I'm a Capricorn. Because of this I have spent a lot of time managing stress. I have a relatively large number of things in common with the author. I'm the child of an Air Force enlisted officer and the first generation in my family not to enlist since we immigrated to the US. I grew up in a middle-class family, I'm white and able-bodied, I haven't had kids at the age of 30, and have spent a decent amount of time traveling with my family. I cannot say I would recommend this book to my friends who seem really stressed. The reason is that this author's perspective is limited by his privilege, and the majority of people I know have more "bears" in their life than "traffic" to use the author's way of framing things. The author uses bears to describe serious things that are actual threats, and traffic to describe things that generally won't cause you harm. The first portion of the book is dedicated to addressing this "bears vs traffic" and also introduces some concepts about how your brain functions. After explaining how to sort stressors/threats into things that are serious concerns and things that aren't, the author tells you to then ask what you can do about it. I would like to point out that this is literally a "worry matrix" or an "Eisenhower matrix." I learned about this from Air Force officers and I'm sure the author did as well. The next portion of the book addresses ways you can manage stress by developing your problem solving behaviors and focusing on the positive. All of this is addressed in Dale Carnegie's 1944 book "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living." The primary difference between King's work and Carnegie's is that King inserts some humor into his writing. However, I would not necessarily consider this a positive, since a lot of the humor is either based on current events or is typical Boomer Humor. Think "ha ha wife bad" type jokes, although the author clearly loves his wife, it doesn't stop him from making these jokes about his mother or friends' wives. The current event jokes (Marvel, The Emoji Movie, and Facebook are all mentioned) are already outdated references and this book was published less than a year ago. Finally, the author addresses some common stressors that people experience, notably bad health and financial worries. The author's advice is "eat less and exercise more" and "just stop being poor" respectively. Not only is this incredibly dismissive of struggles, but very much comes from a place of privilege. It is nice that the author has the ability to just go to a doctor when he is sick. Amusingly, the author, after saying he recommends eating less and exercising more to lose weight, found that one of the reasons he struggled with his own weight is that he had sleep apnea and there was an underlying medical condition that once addressed, reduced his weight. So, in this arena, the author is preaching things he does not practice. I will add that the general attitude regarding weight is quite fatphobic and operates on the assumption that thin = healthy, so if you have a history of an eating disorder I would absolutely steer clear of this book. In summary, this may help someone but it did not help me, and I think all of the valuable wisdom in this book has been covered by the likes of Eisenhower and Carnegie.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dori Sabourin

    Eliminating Life's Stresses Brian King extrapolates on how bad things happen all the time, but what ultimately makes the difference in our lives is how we deal with those situations. The simplest description he ever come across is that stress is our brain’s reaction to a perception of threat. King gives an example of a person driving to work, experiencing stress and fear of being late for work as half of the other drivers on the road are in front of her, driving real slow; whereas the other half Eliminating Life's Stresses Brian King extrapolates on how bad things happen all the time, but what ultimately makes the difference in our lives is how we deal with those situations. The simplest description he ever come across is that stress is our brain’s reaction to a perception of threat. King gives an example of a person driving to work, experiencing stress and fear of being late for work as half of the other drivers on the road are in front of her, driving real slow; whereas the other half are following behind her and honking their horns. The traffic is real, but it is one's own beliefs, values, and expectations that make the situation into one that is found stressful. He goes on to say that ultimately overcoming stress and managing its impact on our lives depends on this basic realization that most of our stress is from percieved threats, not clear and present threats. Therefore, we need to learn to assess our stress. King recommends: 1.When we start to feel agitated or stressed to stop and ask ourselves, “Is this situation actually threatening?” 2. When stressed we should ask ourselves, is this an actual threat? If it is an actual threat, then can anything be done about it? Remember, stress is not our reaction to threat, it is our reaction to the perception of threat. King explains that we begin responding to stress before we have a chance to think about it. However, we have the ability to overcome our initial response. Learning how to increase the right kind of prefrontal activity, or thoughts, and being able to consciously redirect choices made by other areas of the brain, is the key to living a less stressful existence. Worry is one way that the brain can generate its own activity. And King believes that most worrying occurs to relieve boredom. Therefore, we need to learn to redirect our brain away from worrisome or negative thoughts; and, If simply changing our thoughts doesn’t work, then we can change our environment or activity, repeatedly practicing the behavior we want to exhibit. King states If we wish to improve our stress management, we should also develop our problem-solving skills. Problem-solving skills can be improved by mastering any challenge that requires strategizing. Driving the point home, King proposes that the best way to teach a child how to handle stress is to: 1. Model resilient behaviors in their presence and try to keep our worry or anger to ourselves. 2. Allow children an opportunity to solve their own problems. 3. Provide assistance and support, but give them a chance to attempt things on their own, and the opportunity to fail. The more we experience, the more our brain also learns to solve problems. Three ways positive thinking can help you become more stress resilient are: 1. Teaching you to become more optimistic. 2. Teaching you to be more appreciative of what you have. 3. Increasing your appreciation of humor. King enumerates structured journaling exercises that can help us learn to be more optimistic, which in turn can help us to manage stress: 1. Verbally expressing positive emotions, such as love or gratitude, to others can make us happier and in turn help us manage stress; 2. Keeping a gratitude journal, specifically listing three things we appreciate about each day, can also make us happier; and, 3. Humor is a natural stress-management tool. Reevaluating a situation to make a joke can help reduce negative thinking as the physical act of laughing reduces stress and stress-related physiological conditions; eliminating the tendency to focus on negativity; and reducing negativity by redirecting our thoughts or putting things into perspective. Three things we can do in the moment to calm ourselves down are deep breathing, physical exercise, and forcing a smile. King concludes that money, and related issues, are some of the biggest sources of stress, and that saving and living with minimal debt can be a tremendous help to alleviating stress.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kimi

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is, I think, my first time participating in the #BigLibraryRead. I imagine that any author would be thrilled to have people all over the world reading their book and sharing their opinions on it. Or, maybe that would be stressful. I really enjoyed how Brian (he says Dr. King is already taken and if you don’t know who, you must have skipped school in February) talked about the science of stress, happiness, resilience in plain language. He incorporates a lot of white boy humor in the book, wh This is, I think, my first time participating in the #BigLibraryRead. I imagine that any author would be thrilled to have people all over the world reading their book and sharing their opinions on it. Or, maybe that would be stressful. I really enjoyed how Brian (he says Dr. King is already taken and if you don’t know who, you must have skipped school in February) talked about the science of stress, happiness, resilience in plain language. He incorporates a lot of white boy humor in the book, where women are the butt of the joke. While I did learn a lot and enjoyed this book, it was very white. And, often as I read, I wanted to have suggestions for dealing with the daily race influenced microaggressions and other stress inducing situations that many BIPOC encounter. Throughout this book, I wondered whether a BIPOC has written a similar book that would be more useful. I’m aware that Brian was writing this book for a more general audience. I’m also aware that most of the time, general audience means white. There’s this one part where he talks about how he was homeless in college and he was thinking that he could sleep in the 24hr study something or other and use the showers at the gym. He said as long as he looked like a college student, he should be fine right? And, that made me tweet “...Tell that to Lolade Siyonbola who fell asleep in the common area: https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/09/us/yal...” And, when he was talking about travel and airports, I thought about how early I go to the airport because I am often “randomly picked” for the extra scrutiny. And, how often I am made to go through twice. But, Black people have had the pigs called on them for playing in the park with a toy gun. Yes, the person who called said it might be a toy gun. Rest in peace, Tamir Rice. Black people have had the pigs called on them for sitting in their car in their driveway because that’s “so suspicious.” Some were murdered by the pigs. Black people have had the pigs called on them for reading a book while sitting in a car because that’s “so suspicious.” Just Google “police called on Black person for” and add any random ordinary activity and I am sure you will get a few hits. I want to know how to handle the stress of living my normal and very ordinary life. Such as how to not have a panic attack every time an officer sees me then puts their hand on their gun. To date, deep breathing alone is not sufficient. Like, I have already turned off autoplay on social media, so I won’t be traumatized by the extrajudicial murders of Black men. For my own peace of mind, I have not been following the Chauvin trial. Maybe there is no book like the one I would like already written. If there is comment the title(s) below (look at me optimistically thinking there’s more than one lol).

  22. 5 out of 5

    Karin McCullough

    The public library has been such a blessing during the pandemic. For some years now, Seattle’s has been expanding its ebook and audiobook collection and has set up a system called Libby and also works with zoverdrive so we do not need to borrow physical copies of many materials. Our library recently had a posting which I saw on my login page for this book. Apparently the library, for some time now, has been suggesting one book for everyone to read at the same time. Since I have been sorely missi The public library has been such a blessing during the pandemic. For some years now, Seattle’s has been expanding its ebook and audiobook collection and has set up a system called Libby and also works with zoverdrive so we do not need to borrow physical copies of many materials. Our library recently had a posting which I saw on my login page for this book. Apparently the library, for some time now, has been suggesting one book for everyone to read at the same time. Since I have been sorely missing the opportunities of the past to attend live performances at which I delightedly find myself among hundreds if not thousands of strangers who are enjoying the same thing I am at the same time, I figured this might be a way for me to satisfy my craving for sharing a good experience with many others. I like the question, “What if we all read the same book at the same time?” Call it nostalgia for the days when everyone in an extended family listened to the same music (before my time!). Well, I think it was a good recommendation on the part of our library. I have been experimenting with various ways to figure out why I have been in physical pain since I was about 8years old. During the pandemic I got more serious about experimenting, with leaving out certain foods, with doing tai chi, stretching, breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, weights, aerobics. This book makes me wonder if it has not been stress that makes me ache all over. I thought the book was written in a breezy style, was a quick and easy read (no need for skimming although the author seems sure some will), and contains a lot of nuggets of easy truths. I am going to try to keep the author’s suggestions in my prefrontal cortex, on the left side, and see if that makes my life easier. Who knows...after a few weeks of retraining my mind, I might upgrade this book to five stars. I have long suspected that I could benefit from therapy, but I always decided not to, either because it costs too much or because the people recommended to me as it would always turn out had since retired. And now I’m off for a weekend with someone who knows how to make me laugh, and I’m bringing along two comedies for good measure.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Raven

    DNF’d at 28%. I tried this book out as part of the Big Library Read for April 2021 along with quite a few of the other reviewers it seems and unfortunately I had to DNF it as I felt that the writing was very dry. I don’t normally participate in these reads but I was interested in this particular book as it was suggested to be humorous and I was intrigued as I had wanted to read a book about managing stress and I thought the humorous undertone would help me do this. Unfortunately I think that I w DNF’d at 28%. I tried this book out as part of the Big Library Read for April 2021 along with quite a few of the other reviewers it seems and unfortunately I had to DNF it as I felt that the writing was very dry. I don’t normally participate in these reads but I was interested in this particular book as it was suggested to be humorous and I was intrigued as I had wanted to read a book about managing stress and I thought the humorous undertone would help me do this. Unfortunately I think that I was not the target audience as this seemed to definitely be more for Americans I feel as I just didn’t get the humour. The only bits that I can see are supposed to be funny are the footnotes but they are at the end of the chapter and I feel that this takes away from the humour as you have to put in too much effort for the witty comments. I don’t know if it was just the ebook format that made it this way but I think having the footnotes at the end of the page would have made this a more enjoyable experience and the reader would have been able to appreciate them more. Also maybe I just didn’t get far enough into the book but I felt that this book is focused more on examples of stressful situations and how stress affects your body on a hormonal level than actually trying to help the reader in any way (apart from suggesting that they quit their job). I also felt that the points that were made were very rambling so if someone was a skim reader they could just read the random skimmer bullet points dotted within the book (quite a nice idea) and get the exact same from it as someone who read everything. Sadly didn’t get on with the book maybe if I persevered than I would have enjoyed it more but I just couldn’t get through it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Stefania

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 2,5/5 First of all, the title is very misleading. It's more like an autobiography plus some other short stories of other people, that have nothing to do with HOW to cope with stress. The author constantly mentions how resilient he was/is his whole life, not because he did something to get rid of his stress, but because he's built this way. Plus he mentions constantly and with no reason how happy he is. Again, not because he did something to achieve this state of zen, but because he's built this wa 2,5/5 First of all, the title is very misleading. It's more like an autobiography plus some other short stories of other people, that have nothing to do with HOW to cope with stress. The author constantly mentions how resilient he was/is his whole life, not because he did something to get rid of his stress, but because he's built this way. Plus he mentions constantly and with no reason how happy he is. Again, not because he did something to achieve this state of zen, but because he's built this way. He says that he cannot experience real stress, even when he should (with examples from his life) and when he does a little bit, it's mostly first-world problems. Rubbing all that all the time on the readers' face, who are reading this book BECAUSE they suffer from severe stress and are looking for some help, provokes and pokes the wounds even more. As if they cannot do anything about it, because they weren't born or built the way he was. There is almost no advice as to how someone can cope with stress, only a few points. Some are obvious, some are ridiculous, something like "you aren't attacked by a bear, chill", which is not very applicable today, and maybe one or two good ones like keeping a gratitude diary or smile on purpose. What bothers even more is that this book is mostly meant for people with money and kids, but basically money. So if you don't have money and you're stressed about it, well, bad news, he practically tells you in a few lines that yes, money is a major stressor, so find a way to make money, don't spend too much (as if you did), etc, etc... So, in this case, don't read this book, it'll make you more stressed and even angry. Of all the pages of this book maybe 8-10 were on topic. If the book had a more appropriate title, like "I'm happy and I want everybody to know!", I would give it 4 stars. It's a pity because he is very likable and gives a warm vibe while reading.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    I picked up this book when I went to return another to my library's online platform - this was being promoted and touted as some sort of mass "let's read it together" with accompanying discussions and forums. I read the book but somehow missed out on all the accompanying conversation. I guess perhaps I took it too easy. Anyway.... The Art of Taking it Easy can best be described as a primer on stress & worry, and tips & tricks to reduce stress, become more resilient and happier. Although it's writ I picked up this book when I went to return another to my library's online platform - this was being promoted and touted as some sort of mass "let's read it together" with accompanying discussions and forums. I read the book but somehow missed out on all the accompanying conversation. I guess perhaps I took it too easy. Anyway.... The Art of Taking it Easy can best be described as a primer on stress & worry, and tips & tricks to reduce stress, become more resilient and happier. Although it's written by an author with a Ph.D, it's a super accessible read. So for someone who's just looking to wade into these waters, this book provides calm, shallow waters. That, as it turns out, was probably the same reason I didn't like the book a ton. I have read/studied some on this topic, and didn't find most of the information to be very revelatory. There was also quite a bit of repetition in the book. I think the key points and takeaways would have made for a nice, tightly woven long form journalism article in a magazine. Here though, there's the same information but with a lot of surrounding filler. Still, nothing to get stressed over... Ha. Ok, clearly I am NOT the comedian that the author is. Did I mention he did stand up comedy as well? I will say this - I loved the chapter where he's discussing worry, and how - unless you can affect the outcome of whatever it is you are worrying out - it's a pretty useless emotion. And that a lot of worry stems from our being bored. So one of the best antidotes for worry is a distraction, any distraction. He mentioned books as a good distractor. Not that I need any more reasons to read in the first place, but I love the idea of adding yet another excuse to go and read to my list.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Heather Martin-Detka

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. As a comedian with a doctorate in psychology, King employs neuroscience, psychology, advice and humour in The Art of Taking It Easy, which is all about how to manage stress: from the cause of stress, to different kinds of stress and stressful situations, to how to manage your current stress and finally how to mitigate stress in the future. The book boils down to being cognizant of the kinds of situations that cause stress, how we do react in those situations, and how we could react in those situa As a comedian with a doctorate in psychology, King employs neuroscience, psychology, advice and humour in The Art of Taking It Easy, which is all about how to manage stress: from the cause of stress, to different kinds of stress and stressful situations, to how to manage your current stress and finally how to mitigate stress in the future. The book boils down to being cognizant of the kinds of situations that cause stress, how we do react in those situations, and how we could react in those situations (though King does point out that a lot of our reactions to stressful situations are unconscious ones and changing how we react to stress isn't an easy task). If there's nothing you can do to change the situation, don't stress out over it. If there is something you can do about it - whether it's changing the situation itself, changing your perspective of the situation, or employing some of the mitigation techniques he suggests - then do it. King's writing is approachable and friendly, and there's a nice balance between fact and anecdote. His use of humour led to some laugh-out-loud moments, and as a librarian I am greatly appreciative of his use of footnotes. I could go on and on about The Art of Taking It Easy, but I won't - I'm being cognizant of your time. What I will say is, if you're feeling stress - whether it be from work or otherwise - this is a great read, and it will remind you to, as King quotes the Eagles, "take it easy; don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy."

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    The Art of Taking It Easy: How to Cope with Bears, Traffic, and the Rest of Life's Stressors is a humorous self-help book written by Brian King, and is the Big Library Read via the Toronto Public Library book for the April 5–April 19, 2021 period. Psychologist and comedian King explores the science behind stress in this witty, informed guide. King uses a bevy of running jokes and punch lines to enliven technical explanations for how and why people experience stress. His metaphors of coming across The Art of Taking It Easy: How to Cope with Bears, Traffic, and the Rest of Life's Stressors is a humorous self-help book written by Brian King, and is the Big Library Read via the Toronto Public Library book for the April 5–April 19, 2021 period. Psychologist and comedian King explores the science behind stress in this witty, informed guide. King uses a bevy of running jokes and punch lines to enliven technical explanations for how and why people experience stress. His metaphors of coming across a bear in the wild as well as being stuck in traffic are also used to great effect to explain a variety of stress responses, such as perceiving a threat and feelings of powerlessness. Reframing thoughts plays a large role in King's advice and also provides breathing exercises, plans for maintaining physical health, and useful advice for setting attainable goals. The Art of Taking It Easy: How to Cope with Bears, Traffic, and the Rest of Life's Stressors is written rather well. While the advice that King gives is hardly revolutionary or new, it is done in such a manner that seems fresh and humorous, using his talents in both a psychologist and comedian with great success. As a person that suffers from stress and anxiety, some of his techniques seem interesting to try – not sure if they would work, but I am willing to try. All in all, The Art of Taking It Easy: How to Cope with Bears, Traffic, and the Rest of Life's Stressors is an enjoyable guide to living with less stress and hopefully would be of some measure of help to any anxious reader.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    Really 1.5 stars, and only avoided being a 1 because thankfully I was rewarded for forging through this entitled, dismissive and offensive book by learning about the amazingly awesome Carousel of Happiness (an actual carousel in Nederland, CO, but with an incredible backstory and creator) and the story behind it in the final chapter of the book. I would encourage everyone to go look it up and I dare you to not want to immediately book a trip to Nederland, CO to see it. However, as fantastic as t Really 1.5 stars, and only avoided being a 1 because thankfully I was rewarded for forging through this entitled, dismissive and offensive book by learning about the amazingly awesome Carousel of Happiness (an actual carousel in Nederland, CO, but with an incredible backstory and creator) and the story behind it in the final chapter of the book. I would encourage everyone to go look it up and I dare you to not want to immediately book a trip to Nederland, CO to see it. However, as fantastic as that chapter was, it actually had nothing to do with the entire rest of the book and was an odd way to end it. And, again, the book on the whole was a disgusting, dismissive, judgmental overly-simplified prescription of how to reduce your stress from someone who constantly admits they have never really been stressed.🤦🏻‍♀️ King’s life is clearly very different and privileged compared to most who seriously struggle with anxiety and depression, despite his ridiculous attempts at stories of “hardship” in his life to use as a comparison. Just don’t bother with this book, unless it’s solely so that you can read the final chapter with the interview of the creator of the Carousel of Happiness and click the link to the carousel’s website, but honestly you can find all of that same info on google. 🤷🏻‍♀️

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    A hilarious book that smells like self help and reads like “be chill like me.” Funny, right? I kept wondering, who is this aimed at? Hmmm maybe a young man who has never been near self help but likes humour. Or someone who could benefit from a little life advice from a goofy funny big brother type. At any rate, the message is, everyone just needs to not be stressed like this guy, problems solved. The author describes himself as ever calm, therefore resilient, which is an odd equivalency really. A hilarious book that smells like self help and reads like “be chill like me.” Funny, right? I kept wondering, who is this aimed at? Hmmm maybe a young man who has never been near self help but likes humour. Or someone who could benefit from a little life advice from a goofy funny big brother type. At any rate, the message is, everyone just needs to not be stressed like this guy, problems solved. The author describes himself as ever calm, therefore resilient, which is an odd equivalency really. Anyway, anecdotes highlighting his own resilience come off more as opaque indifference with a dash of low empathy, but calm is as calm does, right! Even grad school and a PhD didn’t break his calm. Rare, but good on ya. This takes us about halfway through the book. If you decide to keep reading after this point there are some further (not new, but good) ideas. Message 1: Parents- Let your kid try new things and don’t be a helicopter parent. Message 2: Be an optimist and practice gratitude. Smile, laugh, humour. Message 3: Breathe, exercise, become healthy and eliminate debt. Ok. At the end of the day, this guy lets everything in life just roll off his back. And he wants others to as well. Ha!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Susan Galbraith

    My first "Big Library Read". I enjoyed this book, it has a good mix of information and humor. I like the comparison of bears versus traffic, and how we can de-escalate our stress response. There are some practical take-aways that I will remember for day to day "traffic" scenarios. However, in some sections the author comes from a quite privileged perspective, and it can be a bit off putting. For example, as a fellow parent, I did not like his statements around parenting which imply: hey having a My first "Big Library Read". I enjoyed this book, it has a good mix of information and humor. I like the comparison of bears versus traffic, and how we can de-escalate our stress response. There are some practical take-aways that I will remember for day to day "traffic" scenarios. However, in some sections the author comes from a quite privileged perspective, and it can be a bit off putting. For example, as a fellow parent, I did not like his statements around parenting which imply: hey having a baby is easy, all these other folks just don't know how to deal with stress. It's just not that easy for so many people, and I wish he would have at least acknowledged some of the realities parents out there have to face. What about single parents, or those dealing with illness or disability? Sure, knowing how to deal with stress will help in all of these situations, but that only gets you so far. I'd also be curious to know how the pandemic impacted the author. Brian talks a lot about his choice not to settle anywhere, and travelling to do speaking events and book signings. Surely his life has changed quite a bit. All in all, I enjoyed this book and would recommend to anyone looking for some strategies to deal with stress.

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